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The Voice in My Heart

The voice in my heart gently speaks to me. Although it’s a whisper, it’s very powerful. I recall hearing it two months into my pregnancy. I had excruciating pains and I thought I was losing my baby. However, the soothing voice in my heart told me that I had the strength to handle whatever was about to happen and to remain positive while waiting for potentially disturbing news. The ultrasound showed that I wasn’t losing my baby. Rather, I was pregnant with triplets! My three sons were born six months later. As the last baby was delivered, I knew that the voice in my heart was right.

Now, 29 years later, one of the triplets has been told by his doctor that they suspect that he has a solid tumor in his kidney. Again, I hear the voice in my heart speak to me, calming me and telling me to remain optimistic while he waits for an appointment with a surgeon. Although I feel numb, worried, and frustrated, these are normal reactions when waiting for medical results.

Take for example the woman who has a routine mammogram and learns that there is a lump in her breast or the middle-aged wife and mother with a stressful job who finds out her parent may have Alzheimer’s disease. Although they may be anxious, there’s a common thread between them; they can choose to be positive. Women, who survive and thrive, utilize their strengths to cope with the nerve-wracking waiting period.

With the harsh reality that waiting for medical results brings, there is a peaceful knowing that I have the tools to manage whatever I hear and accept it. It’s the voice in my heart that makes me believe this to be true; it influences me in a positive way and sets the tone on how I deal with distress. I listen as it helps me find meaning in what is happening to my son.

The room is quiet, except for the powerful voice, which is still, a whisper. It tells me to: have a healthy approach to waiting; accept that I can’t speed things up; hold onto those things I value such as my faith; distract myself from the uncertainty by going to the gym; communicate how I feel; and lastly, not fear the unknown, as I maintain hope.

I have waited for the medical results for two weeks. Today I received a call from my son. The results showed the suspected tumor was actually blunt trauma caused by an automobile accident he was in. It will heal. Once again, I’m grateful that I listened to the voice in my heart. As a little girl, Mom would tell me to look for the silver lining. Although years have passed since I heard Mom’s voice, I can faintly hear her sentiments echo the voice in my heart.

Barbara is a leading authority and best-selling author on managing burnout, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. As a nationally recognized keynote speaker, she motivates audiences to build their resilience and create work-life balance. Her programs help leaders and teams manage workplace chronic stressors and get over burnout at work.

Barbara's newest book, "But I Didn't Say Goodbye: Helping Families After a Suicide", is available now on Amazon -

• Three weeks prior to giving birth to triplets, her father died by suicide. Her story was featured in the Emmy award winning documentary, Fatal Mistakes, Families Shattered by Suicide narrated by Mariette Hartley. Many employees are grieving personal loss. She offers programs for leaders on lost productivity and performance while managing grief at work.

• As a sought-after keynote speaker who has presented to over 500 groups since 1991, including corporations, state and national associations and non-profit organizations, Barbara offers work-life balance strategies for leaders to implement right away. With clarity and humor, her speaking engagements are designed to give audiences powerful and practical strategies of work-life balance, wellbeing, and self-care that can be implemented immediately.

• Barbara is a Board-Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and Diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Master of Arts degree in community health, with a concentration in thanatology, both from Brooklyn College.


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